Braves 9, Red Sox 7

The Red Sox are not a good team, but while I don’t know if the data supports this, it seems like every game at Fenway is a hard-fought one. This one was no different. Atlanta took the lead five times last night, and fortunately the last one stuck. The day off two days ago really helped as they threw the entire back end of their bullpen at this game. Raisel Iglesias and Dylan Lee each blew saves, though Lee’s was with the stupid extra inning runner. Kenley Jansen gave us some heartache in the 9th just to preserve the lead. This was a white-knuckle game that Atlanta really needed to win, and they did.

It took 9 runs to beat them, so you know town menace Austin Riley was involved. After a triple in the 1st, he smashed a long home run in the third. Both he and Ronald Acuna Jr. had 3 hits apiece, Dansby Swanson had two hits including two doubles, and Michael Harris II also had 2 hits, including a huge run-scoring double in the 8th. Several players had huge hits that in any other game would have been the “biggest hit” of the game, but it was such a wild see-saw game that each one ended up just being equally necessary to squeak past. Another big hit was a run-scoring single by Orlando Arcia, but he popped his hamstring trying to turn it into a double, so now he’s out and will go on the IL. But Ryan noticed a very interesting tweet:

There’s a fella that plays for the team Chris Harris calls for: Vaughn Grissom. Can’t imagine they’d call up Grissom, but his glove is already ready. The same logic for calling up Michael Harris II is the same logic for calling up Vaughn Grissom: he plays a premium defensive position, his glove is ready, and it doesn’t matter a lick if he hits. Who else is going to play? Ehire Adrianza? He’s not going to hit either, and Grissom is an upgrade defensively. Chris, blink twice if it’s Vaughn Grissom.

Here’s another thing about rushing these kids to the big leagues: on the 755 Is Real podcast, Eric O’Flaherty is constantly talking about the great culture the Braves’ farm system has. It’s showing up in the numbers that we are hitting on an extraordinarily high rate of position player prospects. Grissom doesn’t have to hit for him to be helpful, and him not hitting may not ruin him.

I have some extended thoughts about the current state of the roster. Even before Arcia went down, we probably have a couple too many holes to win the division. We don’t have a left fielder, DH, and second baseman. Marcell Ozuna has a 78 wRC+. Eddie Rosario has a 37 wRC+. Robbie Grossman came in with a 78 wRC+, and who knows if he’ll hit. Travis d’Arnaud is in an extended slump, hitting .224/.307/.269 since the beginning of July. Acuna has a .703 OPS since the beginning of July. I could keep going. The bullpen has been hittable. Ian Anderson is in AAA and Charlie Morton is showing his age. I agree with krussell in the comments that one essential component to having a really good team is not having multiple holes. The Braves have multiple holes that need to be filled.

With that said, if Ozuna, Grossman, and/or Rosario could get hot, that helps tremendously. If guys can get rest and get back to their career levels, that would change the trajectory. So there’s enough talent on this team to easily win the Wild Card, and we’ll be in it for this division til the very end.

Kyle Wright pitches against Nick Pivetta tonight at 7:10PM. Don’t miss it.

21 thoughts on “Braves 9, Red Sox 7”

  1. Ozuna had one of his patented blazer batted balls that found a glove. That was comforting to see, but it’s been the same pattern for his career outside of the COVID year and 2017. The problem is when he squares up a ball, for the most part, there’s not any lift on it and if it gets out of the ballpark it has more to do with the exit velocity being out of this world rather than the added lift. When he does lift, he’s not barreling the ball, and while it’s still hit hard, it dies on the track. I can’t imagine this is something that is going to correct itself without time off and lots of cage work.

    Or maybe he is just what he is now and that would REALLY suck.

    And yes, MS Braves broadcaster Chris Harris (and he wears more hats than that if you know how MILB jobs work), put up a cryptic tweet with the wide eyes. And what really stood out to me was the timing. It was in the middle of the night, which would make sense if Grissom were getting promoted as it would take awhile to get the full results back from Arcia’s injury.

    Michael Harris and Grissom’s situation is not all that different. Grissom has spent less time at AA than Harris, but has also put up better results and they’re both 21 with Harris older by a few months. If the Braves weren’t in the hunt for back to back World Series trophies, the decision would be easy: keep Grissom down. However, that’s not the case and we’ve already seen AA make moves straight from AA and it wouldn’t surprise me if it happened again, considering AAA, for the Braves, has just become a place to store replacement players for emergencies.

  2. The difference here is that Harris had a path to a big-league starting job if he played well (which is what happened). Grissom does not. Barring a Wally Pipp situation, Grissom would be sent back down when Albies comes back (or be sitting on the bench the entire time). Do you really start Grissom’s clock for three weeks of not knowing what you’re getting?

  3. I think we can pretty much ignore his clock. Whether the Braves have to decide whether or not to pay him a few more simoleons in 2029 shouldn’t greatly influence how we patch the holes in the team today. We have a contending team right now. Grissom may never play a more meaningful game for the Braves than the games that we would be considering calling him up for this summer.

  4. Isn’t Grissom a shortstop? He definitely has a path to a starting job given Swanson’s pending free agency. Albies is not going to be back this month, so Grissom would presumably stay on the expanded roster through the end of the season.

  5. A drawback of calling up Grissom is that he’s played very little 2B in the minors. If the idea is that it doesn’t matter if he hits, then why not call up Valaika? At least he has 2B and MLB experience.

  6. Calling up Grissom has an added benefit precisely because the Braves need a shortstop for the future. They need to decide whether to make an offer to Dansby or to one of the other excellent shortstops that will be on the market. They would like for Grissom to be the shortstop of the future, but it’s too early to know what they’ve got in him. In any event, I’ve been assuming he wouldn’t be ready next year–certainly not to be handed the job in lieu of one of the big names. But a one month trial for Grissom in the heat of a pennant race will be more data for that shortstop decision they will be making this offseason.

  7. Yeah, having Grissom play a new position he hasn’t played and calling him up with limited time above A ball makes me nervous.

  8. True that Grissom hasn’t played much second base, so he may struggle defensively if they call him up now. I think I’ve read that his glove may not allow him to stick long term at shortstop. The problem there, of course, is that the Braves have second base and third base covered for several years to come.

    By the way, I would have said this chatter about Grissom being called up is crazy talk, if they hadn’t already called up Harris to such good results.

  9. I think the service-time concerns are irrelevant. We’re in a win-now window, if you can make the playoffs you have to go for it. I’d probably feel differently if we had reasonably good alternatives in-house, but we don’t. Adrianza is below replacement-level already. Can Motter even play 2B at a high level? At least he has some pop with the stick. I know nothing about Valaika, but his career numbers aren’t eye-catching.

    There’s a small chance that Grissom is our starting SS next year (I think we’ll sign Dansby, but…). If that happens, it’s not like the last 2 months at AA or AAA this year are going to matter all that much as far as his “readiness”. There’s also a chance we could trade Albies at any time, since he’s got a friendly contract. If it turns out that Grissom is truly blocked at the MLB level, then we’ll probably end up trading him, right? In that scenario his potential and projections will overshadow the two months of service time (or I’d at least like to think that they would … I guess it depends on the trading partner).

    Selfishly I want to see the best players in the Braves system on the MLB team, right now, regardless of age.

  10. Leggggo kiddos

  11. If the Braves grabbed a stud starting SS and ridded themselves of Ozuna, the possibilities are endless and they could go to a rotating DH with Grissom covering 3B, SS, and 2B, allowing those starters to rest from field duty. Riley could move to 1B when it’s Olson’s field rest day. It’s such a perfect solution (if Grissom hits) that I know to near certainty it will never happen.

  12. Honestly, I LOVE the message that is sent by just letting the kid play. He’s done everything he possibly can to tell the team he’s ready, and the team just took him up on it. There’s almost no chance he does what Harris has done — not in my wildest dreams could I have hoped that Michael Harris would come up and immediately start playing shutdown defense while serving as an offensive sparkplug, and even though he’s cooled off from his magical first month, he’s still OPS’ing .744 since July 1 — but as long as he can anchor the keystone defensively and not get the bat knocked out of his hands at the bottom of the lineup, he’ll earn his paycheck (and outperform what Cano gave us).

    Grissom has put himself in a position to get the call, and now he’s in the Show. Grab a locker, kid, you’re in a pennant race. This is what you dream of as a kid. And we need him.

    I’m so excited for him and for the team. Hope Kali’s brother has something left in the tank, too.

  13. I think Bravey called it first. As many have mentioned, this would usually be extremely surprising, but with the ongoing success of Michael Harris and Grissom putting up better numbers but in a shorter time frame, it may be just what we need. Soon after Harris was called up we started a 14 game winning streak. Let’s do the same with Vaughn.

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